Food preparation and grading is key to supporting patients with Huntington's minimising the likelihood of aspiration or choking

Food management

"I lose weight quickly so need lots of little snacks and drinks."

Person with HD

At St Andrew's our HD specialists understand that the dietary requirements of people with Huntington's disease are key to ensuring their safety, health and quality of life.

One of the physical symptoms of the disease is dysphagia, making it difficult for people to swallow and increasing the risk of choking.

Increased movement of the limbs also means that patients burn calories very quickly and require a high calore diet.

"Make sure that nutritional needs are met and a high calorie diet is maintained. Think of people with HD as always being hungry, so don't be afraid to offer double portions! The prescription of specialist supplements can also help to slow weight loss and prevent malnutrition."

Dietician

The only in-patient hospital kitchen dedicated to preparing dysphagia graded choice

At St Andrew’s we typically prepare over 50 dysphagia-graded meals each day in a kitchen dedicated solely to patients who have difficulty in swallowing or who are at risk of choking.

To ensure patients receive the correct range of food types and consistency we have created a kitchen where the sole purpose is to deliver high quality, appetising graded food, and to ensure choice and nutrition for patients.

Each day our three dysphagia chefs work closely with Speech & Language Therapists and Dieticians to create appealing and nutritional menus that offer a selection of meals tailored to the needs of patients living with HD.  Typically they prepare eleven main-course options with a selection of 6 side-dishes, alongside a range of deserts and snacks … and of course they are always delighted to show off their skills to meet special requests.

'Graded food that looks like food'

Once the food has been graded it is then shaped and contoured using special moulds so that the food on the plate visually replicates standard meals when served. The final process is to blast freeze the food to remove excess moisture and preserve nutritional elements until they are ready to be heated (where appropriate) and served.

“Many people think that we simply take pre-prepared foods and sieve them down to a particular consistency. That couldn’t be further from the truth! The ingredients for each dish are individually sourced and carefully prepared within dysphagia guidelines, until you have replicated the exact taste

Head Chef, Simon Pygott